The Central Election Commission (CEC) on Thursday accused a senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) running for parliament of breaking the law after he promised money to a voter during the election campaign.
Gagik Melikian, who holds a seat in Armenia’s outgoing parliament, was among senior HHK figures that accompanied Prime Minister Karen Karapetian on a campaign trip to the northern Tavush province on March 18.
Melikian was caught on camera promising to give a resident of a local village 154, 000 drams ($320) for surgery. He demanded photocopies of the villager’s passport and medical records.
The CEC said it has warned the HHK that Melikian’s actions violated Armenia’s Electoral Code which forbids election candidates from providing or even promising money, food, consumer goods and services to voters. But it stopped short of disqualifying the candidate.
The CEC issued a similar warning recently to Arakel Movsisian, another HHK lawmaker. Movsisian publicly pledged to pave a village street in his constituency west of Yerevan during a campaign meeting.
The CEC also reprimanded Gagik Tsarukian, a businessman leading a major political alliance, at the start of campaigning for the April 2 parliamentary elections early this month. Campaigning in Tavush, Tsarukian publicly promised to grant local residents’ requests for aid. The tycoon has repeatedly complained about the CEC ban while pledging to comply with it.
Both the HHK and the Tsarukian Bloc have been facing opposition and media allegations of large-scale vote buying. They have denied any wrongdoing.